Water Conservation

Anyone who lives on a well knows the importance of water conservation.

Not only from an environmental standpoint, but also from the short term point of view that if you waste water on a well, sooner or later you will run out. And when that happens you have to haul water, which can be a costly and very time-consuming venture, not to mention the time and pain spent trying to prime a pump after the well has run dry.

Here are a few tips for conserving water, which benefit country folks living on a well, as well as everyone else in the long run. Given that much of our planet’s fresh water stores are locked up in glaciers, it might serve us all best to share and conserve our water.

“If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”
This hippie slogan is probably the first and foremost best way to conserve water. While it may be common enough to flush the toilet after every use in a house that has public water, those living on a well generally have a heart attack if someone flushes the toilet too often, due to the fact that hauling water is a less than fun chore. While trying to limit the number of flushes is probably not a good idea in public restrooms, in the privacy of one’s own home, implementing this idea will greatly reduce the amount of water used by many gallons.

Bathe in the Swimming Pool:
In drier areas of the world, being able to take a brief shower once a week would be a huge novelty, but in developed places of the world, people often shower daily, sometimes multiple times a day. The water loss of this practice is immense. A simple alternative is the swimming pool. Many of the same people who would take showers everyday have swimming pools in their backyards providing a large, clean water source to use as a “bathtub.” One can wash in the swimming pool just as easily as the shower, especially if they are going to be swimming in it anyway. For years in my family, we have washed our hair the swimming pool during the summer months to keep the well from running dry.

Not everyone has a pool, so in lieu of that, an alternative is to try showering every few days instead of everyday, or at the very least, every other day. This is particularly relevant on a stay-at-home weekend. A simple wash up instead of a full shower can be sufficient on the off-shower days. As an added bonus, going a couple days without washing one’s hair actually increases hair’s heath.

Don’t wash clean clothes:
Many people wash their clothes every day, no matter clean they are, or how short of a time they were worn. Washing machines not only use large amounts of water, but also large amounts energy, as do the dryers that are often used after the washing machines. Certainly there are certain items of clothing that merit everyday washing, but some items do not require daily cleaning. Pants are a perfect example. They do not absorb body odor as a shirt would, and unless they are actually dirty, they can go for several days without washing. The same is true of a sweater or any type of over shirt. If they do not smell, and they are not dirty, why waste the water? In a family with several members, this can probably save at least one load of laundry a day, and think of how many gallons of water a week. Washing sparingly also helps increase the life of clothing items as washing can be very hard on them. It also save money on laundry detergent.

Same beverage, same glass:
Dishes need to be washed every day, but water can be saved by making efforts to have fewer batches of dishes. Most people drink something throughout day when they’re thirsty, whether it be water, juice, pop, or tea. If you find yourself drinking the same beverage each time you get thirsty, try keeping a glass specifically for it. If you drink juice throughout the day, don’t get a fresh glass each time, use the same one throughout the day. Better yet, use the same glass for two or three days before washing it. It can save water and dishwashing time (which a lot of people despise anyway).

Get a rain barrel:
Collecting water in a barrel is a great way to save water for the backyard garden. It is especially easy to do by placing a barrel beneath the outlets for the eavestroughs or rain gutters on a house to collect runoff from the roof. This water can then be saved in the barrel and later used to water the gardens by hooking up a simple garden hose.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf. Originally published Sept. 6, 2010.

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